Once you've assembled
your choice of individual pieces, it's time to construct the whole.
This section will attempt to address issues pertaining to that.
Control Panel Examples
The first suggestion
is to look at some actual control panels to see how they are configured.
I've managed to track down many control panel pictures from arcade games,
thanks entirely to other people letting me use their pictures. I've
placed them all on the Control Panels
Having templates to use helps a lot when laying out your control panel. On the downloads page, you'll find several templates you can use to help your design.
Online Design Tool
web site is also the home of the Interactive
Control Panel Designer, a very cool Flash based control panel design
tool. Very awesome!
Lots of good places to get artwork and inspiration on the net. Got a good one? Pass it on!
|Miscellaneous Artwork Links|
Dragon's Den side art
Presented by Emucade & Arcaded, a collection of some 100 or so arcade images in Windows Meta File format.
Oscar Control's artwork page
Oscar Controls has added an artwork section to their page with some very nice control panel and side-art artwork. I particularly liked the joystick diamond/directional arrows. Very nice.
|Cory's MAME screenshot marquee|
Bear in mind that the above is a thumbnail of a thumbnail! You can see a larger thumbnail here (167kb). Lifted from his web page:
The Marquee is split up into three parts. Each section can fit easily on an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. You can see where the seam is if you look one screenshot to the left or right of the MAME logo. To turn this into a gorgeous looking Marquee for my cabinet, I printed each section on transparency paper, and cut off the excess edges. When I suck them in my cabinet, they looked a little pale, so I printed them off again and then taped the two copies back to back (doubled up) to let less light through. Now they looked perfect. For my the rest of my marquee, I went down to a local glass shop and had them cut a 1/8" thick piece of white acrylic and a 1/8" thick piece of clear Plexiglas matching the dimensions of the Marquee. With the white in back and the clear in front my Marquee looks as good as any professional OEM out there, even better then the D&D one that came with my cabinet. (plus, MAME doesn't emulate D&D the Tower of Doom yet)
I do have an advantage in that I was able to use a $3000 HP 4500 Color Laser printer to print on the transparency paper. The printer does photo quality work, seamless without any of the grainy effect you get with ink jets.
You can use my Marquee all you want, I just ask that you give me some feedback on what you think and that you don't delete my name from the graphic.
|How to produce artwork|
Now, Control Panel art, there are a few ways to do this, each with its own set of problems.
Scan the image, use PhotoShop or other SW and 'fixup' the Artwork. Now, take it to a SIGN PRINTER or Kinko's (A Chicago copy firm) and have them print it on a DESIGNJET, any model, this printer is just a BIG DeskJet, then request it to be DRY LAMINATED, and either use 3M 77 or 3M 90 to Glue it to the panel. Expect around $14 a Linear foot charge. This is generally what you see on the net, its cheap, fast, and looks ok from a distance...
as above, but if you want it on Lexan, (the original
material) find a sign shop that has a GERBER PRINTER (Not the Cutter), they can print on various materials. I used a thin white plastic and reverse imaged the Tapper art, instead of vinyl. I felt vinyl stretched too much when you applied it and did not have the tensile strength to keep the overlay down long term. I did have them print directly on the lexan but, it was too transparent, didn't look good. Conversely, you probably could laminate the design jet image to lexan by hand, but the gerber does a nicer job of printing a raster image. So I had them hand laminate it to lexan and apply the 'sheet' glue. Expect around $50 for a average overlay...
REDRAW the art
with a Vector based program (Corel, Adobe Illis)
Then you send it out to a company that will provide you color Separations. Then you give these separations to the printer with the PanTone Color Numbers to EXACT match your colors, they print it directly on the Lexan and apply the glue sheets.
Then there is DIE cutting, pretty pricey, as a DIE is made for you, I've gotten quoted from $300+ for the missile commands, not worth in in small quantities... I've dropped hope of every having this done....
Excellent information - thanks to Peter and Tom!
|Producing marquees - by HotRod|
One of the things that makes this hobby truly outstanding in my eyes is the willingness to share information, especially by folks who make money off of it. In that spirit, I asked Richard of Hanaho/HotRod what he might be willing to share, and he supplied the following. He warns that this is expensive, and probably impractical for a single person. However, if a group of folks wanted to go in together . . . :) Thanks Richard!
Ok, here goes... The material Hanaho uses is called GE Lexan 10 mil Suede/Mat Polycarbonate. It comes in clear transparent rolls, and the printers print the graphics (silk screen) on the back side of this. By printing the graphics on the back it insures that the graphics WILL NOT rub off. Once it's dry a 3m adhesive is added, then cut, packaged and shipped to me.
HotRod Joystick has spent a vast amount of time in research in this to insure that it promotes the 'look and feel' that we want to convey. Exact color matches we're sent to the printers, and a lot of time was put in by the printers to meet our standards. This specialized surface will not scratch, mark, peel, or wear. (excellent with sweaty palms too) Printers say they enjoy working with this surface, and claim that it is very easy to produce. The following is a list of printers that I got the best prices from, although I won't say which one I actually choose.
Carl Gor Printing
H N Lookwood
Visual Marking Systems, Inc.
Kudos to HotRod - thanks Richard!
Question by Kevin747 on our message boards:
Answers - Jim M:
Another answer - matt(v):
For larger holes
(button size) the proper way to do this is to buy a "circle cutter" --
they are adjustable from around 1/2 inch to about 4 inches. It consists
of one central drill and a sliding blade that you adjust to the correct
radius of your hole. They make really neat accurate holes but must
be used in a drill press and must NEVER be used on anything except plexiglass.
They are also quite expensive. The cheap way to do this is to buy
a holesaw with small teeth and have someone pour cutting fluid on while
you drill. Alternatively you may want to put the drill in reverse
and melt your way through.
Either way, be sure to clamp it before you go to work.
Here is a link to a mirror of probably the best plexiglass working page on the net - RandyFromm.com's Working With Plexiglass.
Yet another - Brian:
One more - Bill Connolly:
Posted by Kevin747
on our message boards:
This is an .MP3 player
designed for arcade cabinets. Very cool project. From their
Lanzer's Joystick Building Guide is an excellent site to visit to get some tips on woodworking in a joystick
Mr. Arcade has an "inexpensive, fast, and simple way to amplify the sound output of a pc through an existing arcade speaker. ... All that is required is a cheapo set of amplified pc speakers and some electrical tape."
Very cool - thanks Ron!